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So

So

 

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So (after could, should, contractions)


Hello! In this lesson, we will learn to work with the word "so". The word "so" is short but versatile. Although the word itself is small, it can be a big help as we learn to improve our English. The word "so" can be used as an adverb, an adjective, a pronoun, an interjection, and as a conjunction.

Because there are so many usages of the word "so", in this lesson we will concentrate on the most common ones.

The word "so" is often used as an intensifier. In that case, it means: (translate so in its meaning of very or extremely). When we use the word "so" in this way, we can say, for example, "I am so happy to meet you." or "The new car is so beautiful.". It is often used with another clause which contains the word "that", and it means that the "so" condition causes the "that" condition. When we use this combination of "so" and "that", we could say "The new car is so clean that I do not want to take it out of the garage." or "I ate so much cake that I cannot get off the couch.".

We sometimes use the word "so" to mean likewise or correspondingly. For example, we can say "Jennifer likes chocolate, and so does David.". This means the same as "Jennifer like chocolate, and David likes chocolate too.".

Another meaning of "so" is true as reported or stated. For example, when David makes a mistake that Jennifer has warned him about, she might say "I told you so.". It means that she told him what would happen, and her warning came true. A similar expression is "I think so." Which means "That is what I think." or (translate the expression I think so.) or "I thought so.", which means (translate I thought so.)

A common usage of "so" is as a sentence connector which means "therefore" or (translate conjunctive meaning of so). Using it that way we can say "I have to work late, so I will not be home for supper." or "I am sick, so I cannot go to work today.". A similar usage of the word "so" means in order that. For example, we could say "I need a hammer so I can fix the door.".

Now that we have an idea of how to use the word "so" with several of its many meanings, let us listen to a dialog.

David: I ate so much cake that I cannot get off the couch.

Jennifer: I told you so!

David: I know, I know. I should not eat so much.

Jennifer: But my chocolate cake tastes good, doesn't it?

David: It tastes so good I could eat the whole thing!

Jennifer: You ate almost the whole thing!

David: You should make smaller chocolate cakes.

Jennifer: Smaller chocolate cakes? Why?

David: So I don’t eat so much!

Jennifer: You don’t have to eat the whole cake, David.

David is miserable from eating too much of Jennifer's delicious chocolate cake. He says "I ate so much cake that I cannot get off the couch.". In this case, David uses the "so… that" combination which means that the first condition caused the second condition. He could have said "I cannot get off the couch because I ate so much cake." or "I ate a lot of chocolate cake. Therefore, I cannot get off the couch.".

Jennifer answers "I told you so.". Since David stated that he ate so much cake that he could not get off the couch, Jennifer's statement means "I told you that you should not eat so much chocolate cake.". Most adults do not use the expression "I told you so." because it is not a very polite statement to make. After all, it is not polite to remind someone that you had warned them against their own mistakes. It is more common among kids -- and maybe among people who really have told you so many times. Other ways of saying this are "I told you." or "That's what I told you.".

David says "I know. I know. I should not eat so much.". People often chastise themselves with statements like this one. Similar statements could be "I should not talk so much.", "I should not drink so much beer.", or "I should not get so angry.". People often comment on others' shortcomings by making similar statements, such as "He shouldn't drink so much." or "David shouldn't eat so much.".

Jennifer answers "But my chocolate cake tastes good, doesn't it?". Jennifer is asking whether the cake she baked tastes good. She could have asked "Does my chocolate cake taste good?" or "Do you like my chocolate cake?".

David says "It tastes so good I could eat the whole thing!". This is another example of the word "so" as it is used in the "so … that" combination. However, sometimes we drop the word "that" in the "so … that" combination. David could have said "It tastes so good that I could eat the whole thing!". Similarly, when David said "I ate so much that I cannot get off the couch.", he could have said "I ate co much I cannot get off the couch.".

Jennifer says "You ate almost the whole thing!". When she says "the whole thing", in this case, she means the entire cake. However, the expression "the whole thing" refers to any entire entity. For example, you could pay off a loan over time, or you could pay off "the whole thing" at one time. In this case, Jennifer could have said "You ate almost the whole cake!".

David advises Jennifer "You should make smaller chocolate cakes.". When Jennifer asks "Smaller chocolate cakes? Why?",

David answers "So I don’t eat so much!". In this sentence, David uses the word "so" with two of its different meanings. Oddly, it does not sound strange to use the same word with two different meanings in one sentence. The first usage means (Translate so which means 'in order that') . The second occurrence of the word "so" it is used as an intensifier. He could have said "Because I don’t want to eat too much!".
Jennifer, the voice of reason, reminds David - and all of us chocolate lovers - that "You don’t have to eat the whole cake, David.". We have a proverb which addresses Jennifer's remark. It is "Easier said than done.". (Translate to local proverb: 'Easier said than done.').

Now that we have reviewed the usage of the word "so" with its various meanings, please listen to the dialog again. Listen for this little word which is a big help in speaking English.

David: I ate so much cake that I cannot get off the couch.

Jennifer: I told you so!

David: I know, I know. I should not eat so much.

Jennifer: But my chocolate cake tastes good, doesn't it?

David: It tastes so good I could eat the whole thing!

Jennifer: You ate almost the whole thing!

David: You should make smaller chocolate cakes.

Jennifer: Smaller chocolate cakes? Why?

David: So I don’t eat so much!

Jennifer: You don’t have to eat the whole cake, David.

"Delicious!". Use the word "so" in your conversations in English. "Your English is so good!".